In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the new Copernican view of astronomy, or heliocentric view, changed scientific thought and methods when it came to intellectual, social, and religious factors. In the early 1500s, traditional European ideas about the universe were still based on the 2000 year old geocentric ideas of Aristotle, a great Greek philosopher. The scientific revolution that took place replaced these views with Copernicus heliocentric model.
Scientific thought and methods were changed, to a great extent, because of intellectual reasons. Thinkers were becoming more widely educated. Within their staff of philosophers at universities, they established new professorships in mathematics, astronomy, and physics. The Renaissance and the rediscovery of Greek mathematics greatly improved European math in the 17th century. Scientific method was greatly shaped by two men, Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes. Bacon was a strong advocate for empirical, experimental research, while Descartes favored mathematical theorization.
Socially, there were reasons for change in scientific thought and method in the 16th and 17th centuries as well. For the first time in history, scientists had an important, honored role in society. This was first came about when Sir Thomas Gersham established the Gersham College in London. He stipulated that three of the seven professors had to concern themselves only with science. Also, the close tie between practical men, like sailors, and scientists resulted in the establishment of the Royal Society of London in 1662, which published scientific papers and sponsored scientific meetings.
Religious reasons also played a role in the change of scientific thought and methods. Traditionally, in the 1500s, Aristotle s view of the universe was accepted because over the years it had fused with religious beliefs. According to this Geocentric theory, earth was the center of the universe and around it moved ten crystal spheres. Beyond the tenth sphere was heaven. Copernicus heliocentric view was resisted by all religions to varying degrees. The Catholic church was initially less hostile which accounts for Italy s early leadership in scientific progress. After the trial of Galileo, however, the Counter Reformation became more resistant to science. At this time, Protestant countries such as England, the Netherlands, and Denmark, became more and more scientific. This was possibly because there was no strong religious authority capable of imposing religious orthodoxy on scientific questions.
Intellectual, social, and religious reasons played a major role in the change of scientific thought and method in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. People became more concerned with science and deductive reasoning to solve problems. Religion was no longer used as a way of explaining things that were not understood. These new scientists were celebrated and paved the way for modern thought.